The Intimacy of Voice

The Intimacy of Voice
Sunday musings...

A singer acquaintance used this term this week,  and I thank her for it!  I have been thinking about it and wanted to share more thoughts here...

She spoke from the position of being a dramatic operatic voice and that her goal each day was to find the intimacy of her voice.

What does the intimacy of our voice teach us?  What are we capable of finding and discovering?

We are often too fascinated in "bigger is better" with voice.  We confuse "shiny" with "substance".

The truth of voice, and how it is built and how it produced,  how it functions and how it truly fills a space and gets into the crevices of our pores,  comes from an intimate discovery that builds from the inside out - not the outside "outer"!

Vocal intimacy dares to strip away the style and patina and dares to discover the nakedness of core.

Anything built well,  is structured on a strong foundational core.  Why would voice be any different?

Louder and bigger cannot exist in a vacuum.  The intensity of voice does not come from a scattered, loud and unfocused place, but rather from a still, intimate, energized core that shows dynamic, flexibility, elasticity and control.

Often, I see voices come into the studio that simply have never discovered the POWER of the intimate voice.  When stripped down,  the core simply does not exist,  or if it does,  is not built with a balance that can carry the weight of fach,  type,  or number shows demanded of it.

We as singers get caught up in the trappings of singing - the packaging,  the shiny, the final product.  Sadly,  we forget that packaging means NOTHING if there is not a core of sound that stabilizes underneath.

Discovering the intimacy of voice,  requires commitment,  truth,  and letting go of shiny every day.  It is the grunt work;  the sweat work;  it means we forsake "pretty" to really get to the bottom of things and find out how they function!

Intimacy of voice isn't always going to be pretty;  it isn't going to be fun;  it isn't going to be easy;  but it will reveal a truth of how the voice functions at its core.  How it DOES function, and how it SHOULD function.

As I often say in the studio,  our job together is to discover the balanced nakedness of the voice.  We accessorize later!

Yes, to achieve a truly balanced and intimate instrument,  we have to be ready to see it as it is;  we have to be ready to CLAIM it as it is,  and then know how to build the power, strength and intimacy from the inside out.

The intimacy of voice provides a microcosm of what WILL fill a space;  of what WILL achieve true fach/type;  of what WILL carry you through a production and/or 8 shows a week, week after week.

Louder is not better if you cannot sing softly with intensity.  Bigger is not better if you cannot sing a lullaby and not scare the baby!  Belting is not screaming and cannot be achieved if the voice cannot move into a gentle intensified mix on the same note.

We need to discover the intimacy of our voice each day.  It may not be pretty;  it may not be ready for public consumption;  it may not be shiny and bright;  but it WILL lead to healthy, true, and COMPLETE vocal production.  It will lead to expressive singing,  and the possibilities that allows for us in EVERY venue we find ourselves.  It will lead to a healthy core of sound that is build from the centre OUT and not patched together in a hurry in order to get a job.  It will allow us to SUSTAIN a job and ultimately to have a workable instrument for the long haul.

Intimacy reveals.  We don't always have to share it! We simply need to know what is there and how to deal with it.  Intimacy requires truth and not superficiality.

Dare to discover that intimacy of voice.  Take the time to find it and let it reveal itself to you.  Intimacy of voice then has the possibility of taking you many more places than you realized you could go.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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